iPod Shuffle 3G Review
The newÂ iPod Shuffle 3G is the smallest music player from Apple. The biggest change to this model is the absence of playback controls, a functionality that drew a lot of flak when it was announced.Â
The new 3rd-gen iPod Shuffle is surprisingly small (about a half to two-thirds of the size of its predecessor) you’d easily mistaken it as a paper or money clip. The only controls embedded in the device is the On/Off switch situated at the top end together with the 3.5mm jack and a small needle-point light to indicate device activity.
Since iPod Shuffle’s don’t have a display screen of any sort, the new version made use of Voice Over that enables a user to know to the name of the song and the artist that is being played. The Voice Over also functions as a status indicator for the Shuffle (talks back and tells you if battery is low and needs recharging). The male voice though reminds me of those text-to-speech voice quality.The 3.5mm audio jack also serves as the charging port via USB.
The playback controls are found on the right earbud cable which includes play/pause, forward to next song, and volume up and down (tried using it on my iPhone 3G and it partially worked, minus the volume controls). The headphones have been slightly improved with the cables a little more rubbery (to keep it tangle-free) and while the earbuds are practically the same, sound quality is better compared to the old ones.
After a couple of weeks using the Shuffle, I realized that the playback controls on the earphones make sense especially when I’m using it while jogging or in the gym. I’ve also noticed people who are using their cellphones as music players are already with having the controls in the earphone cables so in terms of usability, I don’t think this is an issue.
Apple has been known to make their customers adapt to their products, not the other way around. That’s why you don’t see people clamoring about being able to hook up a Logitech/Genius keyboard and mouse onto their Macs. As such, it was no surprise to me that Apple shifted the playback controls from the device itself to the headphones.
Sure, iPod headphones are not the best out there so this move on the Shuffle didn’t help address that issue (and the ability to be able to use any other headphones along with it).Â Despite that I don’t think this will hugely affect sales of the new model (SRP Php4,190 for 4GB). If you’re not into it, Apple is still selling the second generation Shuffle at a much lower price (SRP Php2,590 for 1GB). And if you’re very particular about headphones,Â Klipsch and Scosche will be releasing their own version of headphones that’s compatible with the new Shuffle.